Dec 302013
 

So its the 30th now and Christmas is over though Christ is still in our hearts right where He belongs but I wonder to myself after cleaning and then listening to fights and cleaning and then fights and then cleaning and then playing and giggles and then cleaning again if there really is a “break” over the holidays!

I am thinking no!

When we were young we played outside and basically lived outside and now kids play on their Ipods or laptops or whatever gadget they can find and then all that energy has to go somewhere which ends up being in the form of dramatic, er overly dramatic outbursts that often don’t make any sense or hold any water!

I am fairly certain that I have heard someone say “quit breathing my air!!!” this week {okay maybe not that bad but close!}

Anyway, a few more days and a lot of prayerful hope for some loving fun and we will be back into the routine of school! It’s hard to believe January is only 25 hours away!

During this school break we have went skating and played some hockey {I believe I need practice as I have bruises in places I didn’t know could be bruised} we have played some board games, done some cooking, had a small oven fire, done some shopping, done a LOT of cleaning and laundry seen The Hobbit in the theatre, which for the record was NOT as good as the first, before school was out we saw Frozen at the theatre, which is a special treat to go to the theatre twice in one month, normally we only get to go once or twice a year because of the expense but the Uncle was paying which was a definite {and unexpected} blessing!

Books have been read and new ones have been started including the Hunger Games trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia!

We were stranded at 11pm outside of a bar with two kids and ended up getting a ride with someones designated driver who was more than willing to “pay it forward”!

The Advent candles have all been lit and now they sit and I wonder if I should burn them down or put them away for next year.

I have learned a lot over the past few weeks especially about myself. I am excited about what 2014 holds for each of us!

While the holidays don’t feel like a holiday or a break reflecting back holds memories that replace the fights and the copious amounts of cleaning!

Dec 162013
 

Easy Gingerbread Cookies {No Scraps}

Ingredients

gingerbread2 3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 cups flour

Directions

 

  • Melt butter and cool for 5 minutes. Mix in all other ingredients.
  • {Batter will be thick.} Spread in a 10×15 cookie sheet/jelly roll pan.
  • Bake at 350* for 10-20 minutes {until done}
  • Cool 5 minutes. Using cookies cutters cut shapes!

Decorate!

You can sprinkle with 2 TB sugar before baking.

or

You can dust them lightly with powdered sugar after they are cooled.

or

You can be all fancy and fun for your children’s enjoyment and make white icing.

gingerbread

Nov 292013
 

Black Friday Sales at Craftsy!

Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings on the craft supplies you want! With up to 80% off yarn and 65% off fabric, get the best prices of the year while you can.Quilting Supplies at Craftsy.com

Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings for a limited time only! All their online classes are on sale for $19.99 or less. With classes priced up to 66% off, now is a great time to get the classes you’ve been eyeing all year! Craftsy classes also make a great gift, so do some holiday shopping for the crafter in your life.

Nov 282013
 

DaySpring’s biggest sale of the year is happening now!

Everything at DaySpring.com is 30% off with the coupon: 30SPECIAL excluding our Super Deals. We have 24 Super Deal items that are highly discounted—up to 70% off! Please note that a few substitutions have been made for Super Deal items. Click to view our current selection here.

The 30SPECIAL coupon is also valid toward our Buy 2 Get 1 Free Mugs and Buy 2 Get 1 Free Christmas Cards.

The sale is valid through December 2nd at midnight CST.

Celebrate Christmas by blessing family and friends with these beautiful, inspirational Christmas cards. Also, if enclosing a Christmas letter in your card, the Love Came Down Collection stationery coordinates beautifully!

Enjoy your favorite hot beverage from this attractive latte mug!

With its charming vintage design and inspirational message, this beautiful lantern infuses an ambience of days-gone-by, but reflects an inspiring message of truth, relevant to past yesterdays, today, and for all tomorrows!

 

Shop by Collection!

REDEEMED is a beautiful collection for your home focusing on being redeemed spiritually. These pieces are absolutely amazing for any home!

LYRICS FOR LIFE is another beautiful collection with the keywords on the beautiful pieces being spiritual lyrics such as “Amazing Grace”

MR. and MRS. is one of the cutest collections I have seen. There are mugs and coupons and even note pads to and from either the Mr. or Mrs! Great for any couple or as a wedding gift!

URBAN SOUL is a bit more trendy than traditional but continues to bless your home and daily life with scripture and amazingly unique items including mugs, waste paper baskets, storage, photo holders and wall art!

 

*included affiliate links*

Nov 122013
 

Busy Doing Nothing!
{or so it seems}

As I am falling into winter {or fall for most} I am realizing that things seem so different, yet they also feel the very same. I am once again sick. This time I had strep, tonsillitis and double ear infections with one ear canal actually swollen closed! Now as I finish round two of the antibiotics I find myself getting sick with some sort of chest cold resulting in me sleeping ALL DAY TODAY! I literally was up for maybe 3 hours in the last 24 and for those of you who know me you know that is definitely NOT my normal. I am a veteran insomniac, just not today!

Buddy is growing so quickly! It is hard to believe that four short weeks ago he was only 150 grams in size when he now weighs about a pound and a half! He is up walking around, using his nose, and even knows his name! I started him on food this week and it seems to be going good. All of his teeth came in in less than 24 hours. He was quite miserable and so was his mama for being gnawed on while nursing him!

Eating

I am excited to make a cinnamon roll cake when I am feeling a little better. I can’t imagine anyone being too keen on eating anything I make when I am in this condition! Perhaps that’s why they haven’t been waking me for meals? Oh well, this mama obviously needs the rest!

I am also going to make an *attempt* at some apple butter this year. I have never had it nor made it but it looks so darned good and if its an epic fail at least the house will smell amazing while it cooks! I have found a couple of recipes that look good but this is the one that I plan to use.
What are your favorite uses for apple butter?

I have also decided to try this Cranberry Pumpkin bread recipe. It sounds and looks awesome! Too bad I will have to take the nuts out for the kids lunches at school but I would hate for anyone with allergies to get sick because of my baking!

Another thing I found that seems cool is a recipe keeper that notices a recipe on my screen and asks if i would like to save it or print it and where! Check out this awesome addition here! So when I see a recipe it pops out of the corner and asks if I want to keep it. I am really enjoying that, so far!

I have once again decided that booting pop/soda out of my diet would be a good thing. Tomorrow is grocery day and I am actually sort of nervous about this. Not because I am addicted to pop but because it is so cheap and I don’t want to replace pop with a juice that is {almost} as unhealthy as the soda! Maybe it’s time for more water for this mama? What do you drink throughout the day and evenings? Last time I cut out pop I lost a ton of weight and felt way better. I drank water and used Mio to make the water taste like juice in a calorie and aspartame free way! I like to drink coffee but I am thinking that staying away from refined sugar would be best for my health. Stevia is rather expensive but it may be what I decide to use as a sweetener for my coffee and tea, or I may try honey.
Has anyone ever used honey in coffee?

Movies

I am presently watching Insidious Chapter 2 and I am not really sure about it. It doesn’t seem to be as well done as the first movie and seems to be of lower quality, though that just may be my feed.
Insidious in my opinion was very well done and seemed to stick to what possession and other paranormal things actually would reflect in a real life situation {if you believe in that}.
I struggle to not believe in the paranormal because even as a Christian we are taught in the Bible that evil exists and we are told how to cast it out.
I know many Christian families would never watch a movie such as this but for me I enjoy these types of movies and I know that the Lord placed scenario’s that are similar to the movies into the written Word for a reason and that reason shouldn’t be ignored.
One may say I am “asking for it” but I know that the protection of God’s unwavering love works to keep me safe in all areas, especially spiritually!
Not allowing myself to feel fearful of these types of things is my way of being able to justify that I am strong enough spiritually to watch.
For those of you who fear these things you MUST learn to trust that God is protecting you and yours in ALL things.
However, if you still don’t wish to take the chance and allow movies and TV that depicts these things into your lives then that is obviously a personal choice and must be respected.
That said, remember that ANY shows or movies that take away time from the Lord, your family or your duty as one of His servants is unhealthy for you. Even if you are glued to Christian programming or music! Unfortunately, I have met people who are so focused on being “born-again” that they neglect their duties as a parent and partner to stay immersed in the Word. Everything needs balance. The Word is of no use if we memorize it but never apply it to our daily routine!

Bible Time

What verse have you been studying and praying about in your life?

I am presently reading 1 Kings Chapter 18 and I am also reading a free e-book from Smashwords about the role women have within the church. I had started this year with the intent of reading through the Bible this year and unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. I know I NEED to start doing Bible studies again and I NEED to find and stick to a Bible in a year program. It is so easy to procrastinate and I fear that I am a professional!

I know several of you had planned to read through the Bible this year! How is your progress and what have your biggest trials been?

I have read through this book for the purpose of reviewing it and I believe this will be the book I use to succeed at reading the Bible in a year this time!

If anyone would be interested in starting a small group to encourage one another on reading through the Bible and using this book I would LOVE to talk to you and set up a reading/discussion group!

Small Accomplishments

Over the weekend I managed to get a few things done regardless of how ill I have been. I was able to clean up my bedroom {mostly} and get rid of the trash. I need to clean up the closet still and vacuum but standing on chairs and carrying the vacuum on the stairs can wait for a more balanced me!

I changed my sheets on my bed and washed the others and haphazardly put them away in the scary closet!

I set up my Kobo Mini and began reading a couple of e-books I had stored for some time.

I took some photos of the freshly fallen snow though everything looks so grey and dark as a result of the clouds.

I *think* I figured out Instagram though I have no clue why you can’t post from the computer. Any tips?

I sorted out my medications and got everything organized and everything outdated disposed of safely.

I moved Buddy from the bedroom to the living room where there is no carpet for him to soil so that his feeding on dog food instead of just mama milk will prevent me from scrubbing the carpet. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way but he is doing great being an only child and his mama only goes and hangs out with him when he needs a drink or some extra warmth. Otherwise he mostly just hangs out sleeping or being manhandled by tiny and much welcomed hands! He has finally learned to walk though I am beyond sure he doesn’t carry himself up a flight of stairs and into the boys room and then onto the bed!

To Do

I have to mix up all of my cleaning supplies as I seem to have used each bottle up at the same time. I love the all natural company I am with and how concentrated everything is. It’s awesome to use a tsp of a stain remover and fill the rest of the bottle with tap water and have a safe yet extremely effective cleaner! Who else can say their favorite cleaner gives them about 126 liters for about 10 dollars?

I also have to mix up the disinfectant. It is concentrated but not as much as my other cleaner. Though I love using it around the pet areas. Even the bird has no issues!

I have to do some light dusting of all my wood which doesn’t take long, it’s just another thing to add to this procrastinators list! Then I intend to get out my fall wax melter and add a couple of fall touches including an amazingly scented candle!So far my to do list only involves things that I earn money from! Win-win!

Now, if only I got paid to organize that closet…

 

Oct 092013
 

Die(t)

I am sure that most of you have noticed that the first part of the word “diet” is “die” so why do we consume products that are labelled as such when we don’t need to? Meaning, if your not a diabetic why not use natural sweeteners like Stevia or plain old Sugar! Seems like a no-brainer to me. Ingest unnecessary chemical sweeteners or something as natural as natural can get these days.

So what is Aspartame?

Aspartame Chemical Makeup

As you can see from the graphic above aspartame is a by-product of three chemicals; Aspartate, Phenylalnine and Methanol.

Next time your in a restaurant and you order a coffee and you see the packets of sugar on the  table and the packets of sweetener pick up the sweetener and read the fine print. If it is Sugar Twin, an Aspartame based product, it clearly says “do not use without first discussing with your physician”! That’s right, it is a DRUG and it is monitored by the FDA like all other foods and drugs.

Aspartame is in thousands of products that you may consume every year including:

  • instant breakfasts
  • breath mints
  • cereals
  • sugar-free chewing gum
  • cocoa mixes
  • coffee beverages
  • frozen desserts
  • gelatin desserts
  • juice beverages
  • laxatives
  • multivitamins
  • milk drinks
  • pharmaceuticals and supplements, including over-the-counter medicines
  • shake mixes
  • soft drinks
  • tabletop sweeteners
  • tea beverages
  • instant teas and coffees
  • topping mixes
  • wine coolers
  • yogurt

My Personal Experience

I bought aspartame sweetener once and every time I drank it, even though i only used about a quarter of a packet per coffee/tea my heart would race, I would  get dizzy, my hearing would fade in and out as though I were going to faint and I would get the shakes. I also felt clammy and ill all over. The first time I actually thought  I was having a heart attack. Turned out my heart was just racing!

I drink coffee and tea regularly now with sugar and I have never had another problem with it as a result of the caffeine and I have not switched brands of coffee or tea since I began drinking it as I didn’t start until I was several years into my twenties.

I STRONGLY stress  that you speak with your doctor and get a physical before you use aspartame. It is in several medications so be sure to read your labels! If you are getting a prescription before it is filled simply ask if there is aspartame in the medication, if  there is simply ask them if there is an alternative. There usually is, at least in any medications I have had the experience with. Sublingual medications tend to have it in it to make them more pleasing to the pallet. These medications are almost always available in pill form. If you don’t ask you won’t know and your health is in your hands!

What Does this Mean for My Unborn Baby?

In a study funded by Monsanto that was to study any potential birth defects caused by consuming aspartame was cut off after the initial date came in showing very scary information about aspartame consumption.  A fetus may be at risk for several different effects from dizziness to subtle brain changes and retardation.

In a separate study aspartame was shown to cause mice to get holes in their brains when consuming aspartame.

Issues that you and your developing baby may encounter while consuming aspartame include but are not limited to:

Cancer (brain)

Diabetes

Emotional Disorders

Seizures/Epilepsy

Kidney Degeneration

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Leukemia

In 1981 the FDA said the data on aspartame was so “worrisome” that they could not recommend it being approved for the product NutriSweet™.

In a two year study conducted by the manufacturer of aspartame, 12 of 320 rats fed a normal diet and aspartame developed brain tumors while none of the control rats developed tumors and five of the twelve rats with tumors were given low doses of aspartame. (source)

How did Aspartame become Approved?

Easy, in the mid 70’s the manufacturer falsified studied in several ways including removing tumors and placing the rats back into the study as healthy. So, when I listed brain tumors above you have to consider that the initial studies were falsified to get past the FDA in the first place so how many tumors were really caused?

“Since then, the genetically modified creation, aspartame, has been implicated in a number of studies as potentially causing tumors, seizures, brain holes, and reproductive problems” Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/04/diet-soda-aspartame-shown-to-destroy-kidney-function.html

Methanol

We have all heard of it, yes? I am sure most of us associate it with cigarettes.

“The approval of aspartame was a violation of the Delaney Amendment, which was supposed to prevent cancer-causing substances such as methanol (formaldehye) and DKP from entering our food supply. A late FDA toxicologist testified before the U.S. Congress that aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors. This made it illegal for the FDA to set an allowable daily intake at any level. He stated in his testimony that Searle’s studies were “to a large extent unreliable” and that “at least one of those studies has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals … ” He concluded his testimony by asking, “What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act? … And if the FDA itself elects to violate the law, who is left to protect the health of the public?” “

Diabetes

In a statement concerning the use of products containing aspartame by persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia, the researchers says:

“Unfortunately, many patients in my practice, and others seen in consultation, developed serious metabolic, neurologic and other complications that could be specifically attributed to using aspartame products. This was evidenced by the loss of diabetic control, the intensification of hypoglycemia, the occurrence of presumed ‘insulin reactions’ (including convulsions) that proved to be aspartame reactions, and the precipitation, aggravation or simulation of diabetic complications (especially impaired vision and neuropathy) while using these products … Dramatic improvement of such features after avoiding aspartame, and the prompt predictable recurrence of these problems when the patient resumed aspartame products, knowingly or inadvertently.”

Another researcher stated that excitotoxins such as those found in aspartame can precipitate diabetes in persons who are genetically susceptible to the disease.

Emotional Disorders

In a double blind study of the effects of aspartame on persons with mood disorders, findings showed a large increase in serious symptoms for persons taking aspartame. Since some of the symptoms were so serious, the Institutional Review Board had to stop the study. Three of the participants had said that they had been “poisoned” by aspartame. Researchers concluded that “individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener; its use in this population should be discouraged.”(18) One researcher stated about aspartame, “I know it causes seizures. I’m convinced also that it definitely causes behavioral changes. I’m very angry that this substance is on the market. I personally question the reliability and validity of any studies funded by the NutraSweet™ Company.”(19)

Additionally, there are numerous reported cases of low brain serotonin levels, depression and other emotional disorders that have been linked to aspartame and often are relieved by stopping the intake of aspartame.

Epilepsy/Seizures

With the large and growing number of seizures caused by aspartame, it is sad to see that the Epilepsy Foundation is promoting the “safety” of aspartame. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 80 people who had suffered seizures after ingesting aspartame were surveyed. Community Nutrition Institute concluded the following about the survey:

“These 80 cases meet the FDA’s own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market.”

Both the Air Force’s magazine, Flying Safety, and the Navy’s magazine, Navy Physiology, published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative delirious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo. Twenty articles sounding warnings about ingesting aspartame while flying have also appeared in the National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), Aviation Medical Bulletin (1988), The Aviation Consumer (1988), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), Pacific Flyer (1988), General Aviation News (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), and Plane & Pilot (1990) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986).

A hotline was even set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame.(21)

http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/hidden_dangers.htm

http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/04/diet-soda-aspartame-shown-to-destroy-kidney-function.html

Additional Sources on the Use of Aspartame During Pregnancy

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=effects+of+aspartame+on+fetus&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=CApWUorwIOSqyAGxpIH4DA&ved=0CD8QgQMwAA

Aspartame and the Heart

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=aspartame+and+the+heart&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1

This is my research. ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN!

Aug 182013
 

Capture
I found this awesome blog called Family Dinners. They blog about the importance of spending time with family and how the dinner table is no longer for just eating but for other things like games, catching up, staying in tune with one another and maintaining a strong family balance by this one simple, yet seldom used nowadays, step.

Put down your phone, your video games, and turn off the TV. Set a time when it can be you and the family and do this daily. If schedules don’t allow for it every day of the week then keep a chart on the fridge as to when you will be having your next family dinner and stick to it!

Create a family favorite and when the food is gone and the conversation is letting up some move yourselves as a group into a second “catch up” mode. Convert that table and that chair into a place to get to know your family even more. Ask about each others day or week. Play some real games. Heck, even tidy up together! The kitchen/dining room was the hub of the house for centuries and it’s time to put down the toys and recreate those moments before we realize the moments are gone!

Be sure to check out Family Dinners and integrate their tips and tricks into everyday meal times. We all eat, why not do it together?


familydinners.org

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